Greening Youth Foundation was recently invited to hold discussions with representatives of the Liberian Government to share expertise on youth training and development projects, and submit a proposal to help engage, recruit, train, and develop Liberian youth into the next generation of natural resource managers.
After a five-year working relationship under the leadership of GYF Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Development James Ezeilo, GYF Liberia was finally accredited in 2015, to legally operate as an NGO in Liberia. A trip was arranged by GYF Liberia Country Director Preston Jackson. Mike Fynn, GYF Vice President of Operations, went to Liberia to meet and hold discussions with the project partners. GYF Liberia Program Coordinator Johnson Paye was also involved in all the meetings.
During the trip, the GYF delegation met with the management and staff of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), who requested a formal written proposal from GYF after hearing about current and past GYF projects as well as an overview of what GYF could do with youth capacity building in Liberia. Elements of the proposal include a multi-year recruiting, 12-month training, and career placement of 50 Liberian youth.
It was noted that the Government of Norway had signed an agreement with Liberia that set some funding aside for programs including capacity building in conservation and natural resource management. After the GYF proposal was reviewed and finalized, the two sides agreed that an MOU would be necessary in order to submit a formal proposal for funding to the Norwegian Government. (The complete REDD+ funding report can be seen at https://www.regjeringen.no/en/aktuelt/Norway-launches-climate-and-forest-partnerships-with-Peru-and-Liberia/id2001135/ )
The GYF team also met with members of the Liberian government, including the President Pro-Tempora of the Liberian Senate Armah Z. Jallah, as well as the Chairmen of the Departments of Agriculture and Health of the government, Senators Morris Saltumeh and Peter Coleman, PhD.
After discussions on the youth development proposal, members of the government promised to lend their support to the proposal in any way they could.
The delegation then met with local community members and stakeholders, including Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Center (LOIC), a vocational training institute and potential source of youth participants, and the Superintendent and staff of Lake Piso Multiple Use Reserve, a forest and natural resource unit of the National Park Service of Liberia (a potential training site for program participants).
There was significant media coverage of the trip through The Heritage newspaper (www.heritageliberia.net) on Real TV and Truth FM radio station.
GYF Liberia has since opened up an office in Elwa Community, and has undertaken a pilot project to start an educational garden that will serve as a practical training ground for curriculum activities. Two selected schools King Farm Public School in Montserrado County and John P. Mitchell Public School in Margibi County received school gardening materials from the GYF Liberia Youth Corp Project. Greening Youth Foundation is excited about the prospect of helping to develop youth in Liberia into the next generation of conservation and natural resource leaders!